House Review: Control Over Damage
I tried. I really tried to like "Parents."
More than that, I wanted to. This episode was full of potential. I've been waiting and wanting the series to go back and discuss House and his parents for years. The episode "Birthmarks" from season five was one of the last times the show delved deeply into House's past and after that there were mentions, but an episode based around a boy's relationship with his father seemed like a perfect opportunity for the series to dive into some ripe material.
Instead, it stayed on the surface and focused more on House's ankle monitor, Taub's Sophie's and Dr. Adams' past.
Lest we forget the patient of the week, Ben, who is trying to connect to his biological father via his affinity for clowns and making children laugh. Aren't we past the clown era? I can't even look at clowns these days without getting creeped out; kids are too savvy in 2011 to buy into a face-painted weirdo. But the teaser showed just that; kids were bored and didn't care. At least the episode accurately portrayed these reactions.
Meanwhile, we're stuck between three storylines that I can't say I really care much about. House trying to remove his ankle monitor and the accompanying Foreman/Wilson hijinks? Eh. We've seen it before. Although I can say that I never would have expected House to pick Foreman over Wilson! My skepticism tells me this is House's way of staying on Foreman's good side as a boss, but why would he try that hard? Wouldn't the House we know and love much rather be at that fight with Wilson?
And what House wants, he always gets. So either tonight's fight wasn't his endgame, or the people over at House forgot that Wilson and House are the odd couple, not House and Foreman.
The main storyline seemed to be Taub's; at least I felt like he had the most screen time and we were supposed to care about him the most. 'll repeat: I like Taub, but only in small doses. When he is in the episode more that House, I take issue. I know that his parenting decisions reflect the patient's and he's taking a stand as a father in wanting to be part of his kid's life, but I'm not all that invested in Taub becoming a parent, so the stakes were pretty low for me.
What I did enjoy about the episode was the questions it raised. Is it better to have a bad parent, no parent, or a there-for-two-seconds-parent that is heavily idealized? It's a trick question. The answer is D, a good parent, which brings us back to how Taub's kids tied into the patient's biological father.
Taub was fighting the idea of Phil, Rachel's boyfriend parenting his child. But is Taub selfishly motivated or does he really think he belongs in his child's life for the betterment of that child? He chooses to believe that he is best for his own child, especially after finding out that the patient's father sexual abused his son and that was the cause of Ben's condition: syphilis. Taub could easily be a better father than syph-dad, right?
Unfortunately for the patient, it's not the case. Ben, while idealizing his father since he barely remembers him, clings to the idea of him and nothing else. If he knew the truth about his father, that would all be over. It's a nice juxtaposition between his situation and Taub's, but I just wanted more House involvement with the parent storyline, rather than him just attempting to figure out Adams' issues.
We do inevitably find out what exact brand of "screw-up" Adams is: turns out she just wanted to be a person with more depth, so she ran away from her perfect life for awhile and has since spent her whole life making it up to her worried parents. Excuse me while I try and hack up some empathy. You may be waiting awhile.
So is it true that we're all screwed up? I'm sure House would have us believe that we're all damaged in some way. I don't think he's come across anyone that he's found to be perfectly healthy, mentally or physically. The question is can our upbringing change just how damaged we are?
One last thing I did enjoy was hearing Chase's little anecdote from his past about how he became interested in medicine. However, it might not jive with the fact that he went to seminary school first. Just a little continuity error from your neighborhood reviewer. Regardless, the more I learn about Chase, the better.
Next week promises to be so dramatic, they can only show House clicking his pen. I'll believe the good drama when I see it.